Sally Fitzgibbons launches web series, airs
Sally Stories will launch on Red Bull website
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 November, 2012 : - - Sally Fitzgibbons has always dreamt of having a desert island to herself, with endless waves and a heap of jungle creatures singing that 'wimoweh' song from Lion King. But endless waves in the desert? That’s another dream entirely. A dream that could only be made a reality in Dubai, where money is no object and five-star hotels are considered hostels.
We mean, they built an entire residential island shaped as a palm tree and another series of man-made islands shaped as the five continents... Anywho, back to the story and how in the world No.2 women’s surfer Sally Fitzgibbons found herself in the middle of the Arab desert with a heap of new Firewire boards and a film crew.
It all started with being knocked at the US Open of Surf at Huntington Beach back in August. The reigning champion and world No.2, Sal was the favourite. But in a controversial heat, the 21-year-old was knocked in the semi-final by Carissa Moore, with 17-year-old Lakey Peterson - one of few exponents of the aerial manoeuvre in women's surfing - going on to win the event.
Just a year earlier Sal had defeated Peterson in the very same final, but come 2012 had changed up her game. So beaten but not broken, Sal made a decision, to shake the bridesmaid tag she's held for three consecutive seasons and re-invent her surfing by adding another weapon to her arsenal - the aerial.
“I travelled there for the Red Bull training project with the sole purpose to work on my aerial maneuvers and learning how to land new tricks," Sal says.
“I definitely took the double take at my emails when I saw where I would be going on my next Red Bull adventure. The idea for aerial training at a wave facility had been floating around for a couple of months and then it popped up again at the US Open, so it was a pretty quick turn around and we were so excited to bring the concept to life. I placed no expectations on what I would be seeing or doing, I just let my mind be open to everything and I feel that’s what brought my best surfing out.
“In a nutshell, I went to the 50 degree desert of Dubai to surf in a wave pool and it absolutely blew my mind."
Pumping out three-foot waves every 90 seconds, this wave pool is no mirage. It’s currently the best surf pool on the planet and pushes out almost identical waves from sunrise to sunset.
“I’d finish surfing my wave, washing up right by my coach Dan Ross’s feet ready to hear feedback and get straight back out there before the next set came through,” Sal says. “You have time to get a couple of turns in before the close-out launch section, so it was ideal for training and working on a range of manoeuvres.
“It’s a wild experience sitting in the scorching hot desert in a pool staring at this concrete wall waiting for your next wave to fire out at you. It definitely brought to life one of those dreams you have when you’re a grom - endless amounts of waves all to yourself. Woo!”
Starting to sound like an ambassador for the Middle east, one gets the feeling Sal got a little more than she bargained for in the land of riches. And it wasn’t a magic carpet ride with Aladdin - though it may as well have been. “Three days of dawn-to-dusk surfing and charging around through the desert sand dunes was one of the funnest trips to date,” insists Sal, who we guestimate went through three litres of Banana Boat in as many days.
“I was bruised, battered and sun burnt to a crisp but so satisfied. It was great to jump into a completely different environment and try a new approach to take my surfing to the next level. I definitely got everything out of the project and more. I can’t wait to go desert surfing again really soon.
“I loved Dubai. I was in awe of all the futuristic buildings, bright lights and festive night life. Eating dinner at the foot of the Burj Kahlifa - the tallest building in the world - was an awesome way to cap of the trip. The piece de resistance was the lit up water fountain show as we ate - soo sick!”
Enough of the free advertising, what about the aerials?
“Let’s just say I took a range of new Firewires over to test and I ended up on a board with a load more volume in it than I usually ride and I surfed so much in the few days we were there my arms and legs nearly fell off,” Sal finishes with a cheeky grin.
Sally Stories will launch next Wednesday 21st November at 5pm AEST on redbull.com.au and a new webisode will premiere every Wednesday evening for the following four weeks, through to Wednesday 19th December.
Source: Red Bullj
Author: The Editors
Tags: Wave Pool, United Arab Emirates, Sally Fitzgibbons